DHAKA: Bangladesh’s foreign minister on Friday asked her Pakistani counterpart to apologise for war crimes committed by the army during Bangladesh’s bloody liberation struggle in 1971, a ministry official said.
Dipu Moni made the request during a meeting in Dhaka with Pakistan’s Hina Rabbani Khar following previous discussions about the issue between the two countries, said Bangladesh’s Foreign Secretary Mijarul Quayes.
“The foreign minister has raised the 1971 issue and expected that Pakistan would apologise at one stage,” Quayes told reporters after the meeting.
“There are some unresolved issues between the two governments and she expects that Pakistan would come forward to resolve them,” Quayes said.
Khar was on a six-hour visit to Bangladesh to formally invite Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to a summit scheduled to be held in Islamabad on November 22.
“The Pakistani foreign minister said that they have regretted in different forms in the past and that it was time to move forward,” Quayes said.
Muslim-majority Bangladesh, which was formerly called East Pakistan, won its bloody independence struggle in December 1971.
The 1971 war began after tens of thousands of people were killed in Dhaka when then-West Pakistan launched Operation Searchlight, a campaign intended to deter Bangladeshis from seeking independence.
The current government says up to three million people were killed in the war, many murdered by locals collaborating with Pakistani forces. It has set up special tribunals to try the collaborators for war crimes.